Hispanic Heritage Month
September 15 - October 15
Library Services and the Diversity Advisory Council are honoring Latinx and Hispanic Americans this month.
Explore these library resources to learn more about their incredible cultures, histories, and contributions.
Somos, our Latinx/Hispanic student organization, empowers Lander's growing Latinx community through education, service, and cultural awareness. Follow Somos on Instagram to learn more.
In 1945, Susie Salinas and Gilda Marin—both of Havana, Cuba—approached a recruiter for American colleges about going to school in the United States. The recruiter recommended Lander, and they became our first Cuban students. In the following years, nineteen students from Cuba attended Lander. The peak year for concurrent enrollment was 1950, when twelve Cubans were part of the student body. In 1951, there were eleven. In 1952, Cuban enrollment dropped to zero. That same year, the Batista coup and the first political organizing by Fidel Castro changed conditions in Cuba, a possible explanation for the sudden end to Cuban student enrollment at Lander.
During their time at Lander, the Cuban students were warmly embraced by the Lander and Greenwood communities. On campus, they were active participants in clubs, sports, and various extracurricular activities. In the community, they were invited to speak at Rotary, the Lions Club and a local school. Greenwood families invited them to stay in their homes during holidays when travel back to Cuba was impractical, and they are mentioned in over fifty local news pieces, always in a complimentary manner.
Pictured in the 1949 photo above are (left to right): Elsa Vasquez, Raquel Canosa (voted Miss Lander, 1948), Juanita Cerda (voted Sophomore Class Beauty, 1950), and Lydia Canosa.